Most personal trainers will argue that free weights are more effective when it comes to weight training but when you are a beginner, weight machine exercises are a great place to start.
The best weight machines create a more stable environment for your core and can prevent injury for an inexperienced weight lifter.
1. Upper Body Machines
Assisted pull-up machine
Works biceps, triceps and upper back
On these machines you can select a level of difficulty with a nice step right under your feet. The lower the number is, the less assistance you’ll be getting.
The numbers start at 2 and go all the way up to 60 on most machines. To start off, try it with no assistance. If it’s nearly impossible to pull yourself up, select a number around 14 and keep moving it based on how you do.
Once you find a setting that you can do ten pull-ups on, you’ve found your number. This machine is a great stepping-stone to doing real pull ups someday. Try to improve every two weeks.
2. Tricep Dips
This machine can also be used for tricep dips. There are two handles at your waist level for your to grip. Again, select a setting that allows you to complete ten dips and then try to complete three sets.
Try to make improvements every two weeks so your muscles continue to get stronger.
3. Seated Bicep Curl Machine
On this machine you will sit on a padded seat and place your arms underneath the pads in front of you with your palms facing up and gripping the bars provided.
You will be able to select a certain amount of weight. You will know you are at the right weight when you feel like you can’t complete more than 12 reps of the movement.
4. Cable Rows
Works biceps and back muscles
Most Gyms have these machines and they are great for working these muscles and getting your heart rate up.
There should be a place for you to stretch your legs as you reach for the cables. Select a weight that allows you to do 15 reps per round and aim to do three rounds.
5. Chest press
Works chest, biceps and shoulders
What’s nice about this machine is the support it provides for your back. It forces you to use your chest muscles without arching your back.
While you are seated, there will be a place for your hands to grip and push forward. You want to try to go as heavy as possible on the chest press so that you can complete with difficulty three sets of ten.
6. Shoulder press
Works shoulders, biceps, triceps
This machine is very similar to the chest press but you will be pushing the weight straight over your head rather than forward.
Again, make it challenging enough so that you can barely complete your three sets of ten and try to do more weight every two weeks for best results.
There are many more machines for your upper body, but those will work all of your basic upper body muscle groups.
7. Lower Body Machines
Works quads and glutes
These machines are also great for protecting your back and keeping it straight during movement.
You will most likely be in either a sitting up position or lying on your back. You will either be pushing the machine forward with your legs or pushing so your body backs away from the machine.
Since your legs are your biggest muscle group, you should be able to handle a lot of weight. Three sets of 15 reps each is a good place to start here.
8. Hamstring Curl Machine
Lie on your stomach on this machine and curl your legs so your heels touch your glutes. Try to do three sets of 15 here as well.
Works all leg muscles
The Smith Machine is a basic cage found at most health clubs. It has a barbell attached that you can stack with weights.
You can do traditional back squats, lunges, calf raises, and front squats to work your entire lower body,
Aim to do three sets of each exercise at ten to fifteen reps each for best results.
Ask for help
When using machines at health club, it is very important to ask the trainers for help when you are beginner. Learning how to use the machines properly in the beginning will really help you reach your fitness goals.